Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dream a Little Dream

I dreamt that I saw a Chick-fil-a open on Sunday.

I am at a mall, and I drift past one of those doors into a mall's inner workings that are sometimes left standing open.  I glance in and see a Chick-fil-a manager and two employees methodically making sandwiches. There are no customers, but they are packing sandwich after sandwich into cardboard moving boxes.

I cannot believe that no one sees this. I watch for only a moment before asking the manager if I can have one.

"No. We can't sell them on Sunday or I'll get in trouble. We're getting these ready for a party tomorrow."

He then turns and passes from the dream, leaving me alone with boxes of freshly packed sandwiches in an empty corridor. I stand there, nearly overwhelmed by aroma so tantalizing that I can taste it.

I know with the certainty that is possible in dreams that no one would miss a single sandwich.

Dream Friend reinforces this thought. "You know you could just take one. Nobody would ever know."  Dream Friend selects a sandwich and disappears, and no one seems to notice or care.

And still I do not act, despite a near supernatural craving.

Then Dream Jackass taunts me, "Not only can you take one, but you're a sucker if you don't!" Dream Jackass grabs a sandwich and begins eating it in front of me.

The dream focuses on my hand. Screw it. I want to take it. The manager doesn't even care. I reach out. I am within inches. And I falter. It isn't right.

I pull my hand back.

Dream Jackass begins laughing, and each bray of laughter is a stinging rebuke.

I'm not even angry at him. I'm disappointed and angry with myself.

I can no longer stand there and watch him. So I turn my back in shame. The howls of laughter escalate. My shoulders slump, and the life floods out of my body as a wave of inexorable despair crashes over me.

And they weren't even the good Chick-fil-a. They were the fried kind, not the char-grilled.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I do not know

I haven't written in a while. I've made notes. Some are semi-developed. Some are so brief that they seem a foreign tongue when I try to decipher them days later. None are close to ready for others to see, even if the "others" exist only in my mind. Most seem to revolve around unknowing.

I recently emerged from a season in a strange land to which I have no desire to return. I am certain of the brokenness of the culture that I observed there. I am not certain of all the changes the experience has wrought upon me. 

The birth of my niece was a pivotal moment in my life. Her birth and the events that followed accelerated my awareness of cultural constructs that previously existed merely as words in a textbook. My season in the shadows has had a similar effect. I witnessed the effects of generational sin in entire communities condemned to poverty and spiritual desolation. I observed a patriarchy so stark and chilling that I can no longer avoid recognizing its many more subtle forms throughout society. I am still wrestling with my response.  

One of my favorite writers speaks of wrestling with the Bible and emerging with a limp, echoing the story of Jacob.  I do not know that my limp will last, but I know that I carry it with me. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Caged bird singing

I ate lunch in a food court today. Like many across America, the local mall contains a few birds that wandered in through an open door and never escaped. Today was the first time I heard the birds chirping happily, even over the sounds of Andrea Bocelli streaming through my earbuds.

I was in a bit of a pensive mood, so I turned off the music and listened, trying to figure out why the birds were singing today. This wasn't the first springlike, sunny day of the season. Why hadn't they sang earlier?

Then I noticed the sunlight streaming through the windows near the foodcourt ceiling. It was cascading through at just the right angle to bathe the top branches of the half dozen trees in light. I realized the birds are not faking happiness.  They do not, like Maya Angelou's captive bird, sing with longing for freedom desired but unknown.

No, these birds sing with true joy for the sunlight. They trill from the treetops as if they are free to enjoy the spring, and their song is all the more mournful for the deception that has ensnared them.

If you opened the door to the cage of Maya Angelou's bird, it would burst through in exuberant celebration of freedom long denied. Not so for these birds. They wandered into their cage years ago, attracted by something that caught their eye. Now they live in a cage so large one can almost forget it is a prison, especially on a sunny day when everything is lined up just so. They can even imagine the sunlight itself isn't filtered and muted by the thick panes of glass across their artificial sky.

But their sunlight is fleeting. The sun cannot long balance in that perfect angle and intensity to flood their pretty cage with light. It will continue its march across the heavens, and the birds will soon be bereft of its warming glow once more. Their world will again be reduced to a paltry six trees bathed in florescence, with nowhere to wander but the stark, sterile hallways branching off in every direction. This is no place for a bird.

Yet there they remain, as - day after day - the doorways quietly open wide to the true daylight and unfettered freedom of the world beyond. Then, just as quietly, the doorways slide shut.


written March 4, 2010

Monday, February 25, 2013

Zombies of Mississippi

Mindless, shambling hordes incapable of speech who prey on the rapidly dwindling normals; ruthless demagogues who cling desperately to dominion over their tiny and insignificant corner of the Earth; a spectre of deadly and ever-present violence that looms menacingly over even the most trivial of disagreements; and isolated outposts of civilization which, though beset on all sides, hold on with grim determination despite an official support system that has collapsed beyond of hope of repair.

If "The Walking Dead" were set in the Magnolia State, it would be called "Tuesday."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rubber Ducky, You're the One!

Sometimes you stumble across something that puts a smile on your face at just the right time.  Today I found an off-hand reference to 28,000 rubber ducks being lost at sea when their cargo container was swept overboard twenty years ago.

A search revealed that the ducks have crossed three oceans since going overboard in 1992, even becoming frozen in ice and slowly moving across the Artic before thawing in the northern Atlantic.  They've even been used to help oceanographers better understand currents.  I couldn't help but smile at the thought of all those tiny rubber ducks bobbing along across thousands of miles of ocean currents



Blah blah blah indomitable blah blah blah.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Northern children more bigoted than Southern counterparts, according to study

David Wagner, who is no doubt from the north, presents the results differently, but a University of Chicago study of children's perceptions of accents revealed ignorance and bigotry in young children from the north, and neutral attitudes from children in the South.  

I would be extremely curious to know what type of accents were used.  A Chicago accent is less harsh than a Boston or northern New Jersey accent, just as a Carolina accent is more mellifluous than the dialect of southern Mississippi.

It's interesting but not surprising to learn that by age 10, the Southern children in the study have internalized the same misperception that permeates our media and popular culture.  At least the Southern kids didn't learn it at home.  Damyankees.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Conundrum

The same thought is simultaneously preserving my sanity and driving me crazy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Brainnnns!

I immediately fell in love with the quote explaining why I write that now headlines the site. Whether the topic is personal, professional, or somewhere in between, the writing process forces me to organize my thoughts and often helps clarify ideas or beliefs that would otherwise remain hazy and nebulous.  Lately, I have worried that I am so preoccupied with the demands of a job that forces me to careen from one crisis to the next that I am not thinking.  I feel like I am in a cycle of Eat-Poop-Sleep, with little time to reflect or grow.  Part of that is the insatiable demands of adults in the community, and part is the dearth of adults with whom I can engage in in-depth conversations.  I worry that the fault also lies with me.

The fault always lies at least partially with yourself.  I just mean that I am at fault not for failing to establish clearer boundaries (though I am), nor for failing to travel farther afield to cultivate more friendships (though I am), but at fault in the sense that there has been some sort of fundamental shift in my thought processes that has led me to become a more facile thinker incapable of sustained reflection.

I don't think that is it, and yet here I am writing it down.